Monday, February 15, 2010


Staring at all the snow outside, I wondered if I should think of this cold chalky ice as resilient in its refusal to melt in the warmth of the sun or as basking in the golden sun. Either way, that was a positive win-win thought. So there.

We learn everyday, from people, from experiences. I, then, stop to think of how our earliest ideas of life and living must have been drawn from nature. Men and women have amazingly still not exhausted of writing paeans to that dogged human spirit that will not fall in the face of adversity. How often do we hear our wizened wise grandparents and admittedly (alas, with reluctance) more experienced parents reigning us with good ol' metaphors about the sun rising after sun set, that daybreak will always come after a long dark new moon night. The silver lining under the dark clouds, the lull before the storm, the list is quite endless.

Seasons come, seasons go. We learn to weather the storms and brave the heat with temerity that springs from the abyss of helplessness. As I walked on the ice, shivering in the cold despite being under the many layers, I kept thinking of my favourite season and what season I'd like to be. I know it seems inconsequential and reeks of intellectual arrogance, yet as I sit down to write after so long, I decided to essay my thoughts on a seemingly abstract subject. Yet, abstract it is not.

I have always thought of the rains as my favorite season. The soft fall of the first drizzle giving way to the pitter-patter of raindrops on tinned roofs, and the sweet smell of wet mud on the first day of the monsoon, with the dream of a peacock spreading its feathers in a beautiful dance lurking in my mind, is probably a favourite moment I happily share with many others. Of course, the gustatory and olfactory lust for chai and pakodas and the childlike delight at the announcement of holiday after a heavy bout of rainfall are events that I shall continue to crave. Then came 26th July 2006 when I first saw what it meant for the poor and less fortunate to be caught in mad showers. Wading through dirty waters, it was for the first time, that I truly understood why floods were truly distressing. Living on the third floor I escaped the misery.

So while rains in moderation bring lushness, bounty and prosperity, the rains in fury can spell destruction, helplessness and loss. Not a good metaphor for me. Moreover, Baltimore rains have made me cry. The gloomy cloudy weather leading to light showers that leave one sticky and icky and cranky, are annoying to say the least. Considering that we have winter in varying degrees of severity for nearly three quarters of the year, to suffer wet cold damp weather is something I truly dread. So after a quarter of a lifetime loving the rains, I have decided that the rains are no longer my favorite weather.

I expounded on the rains as they would have possibly been my instantaneous impulsive erstwhile answer. Now I think about harsh summers in India that we would willingly suffer a thousand deaths to win respite from, and then I think of just last April, I would look to skies asking for divine intervention in bringing in an early summer. Summer in Baltimore was a beautiful experience. Beginning with the lovely white cherry blossoms in early spring, summer arrived later than usual. But once it settled in, the joy of seeing life abound was unparalleled. Trees got green, people started coming out of their closeted residences. Joggers, dog-walkers, lovers, book-lovers, open-air theaters, friends, picnics, parties, fairs, camps, life seemed to be straight out of Noddy-land. It was beautiful. Yet, come August, the sun went into a bad mood and burnt our skin, left us tired and withered.

I can obviously go on extolling the virtues and dithering over the inconveniences of winters, yet I think I will stop here. For I realize, that it is true that nothing is permanent. One gives us respite from the previous weather, peaks into lovely climes, and degenerates into extreme conditions leading to the next. I remember reading about this somewhere, that we need to know to live, we learn by the time we are five. And if we then need inspiration, I have found that my richest sources were metaphors derived from life around me. And how much more beautiful can it get, that no matter where I go on this planet, nature throws similar instances for me to find solace and comfort in familiar seasons and reasons. Mother and nature give me the same advice, "it's all about attaining equanimity, my child!".

I know that this exercise in writing was seemingly futile, as we all know about this. It seems redundant and irritatingly so that I might chose to bleat the old tune. I needed this dose. Needed to do this for myself. As I do for every blog of mine. Seasons will come, seasons will go. But I will stand right there, strong, stubborn, adamant, unshaken.